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Any advice on buying a used car for my daughter?

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My daughter is looking to buy her first car and we’re not sure what best to advise her. It took me ages to find a replacement for my old RHD car and ended up buying a Tageszulassung Toyota Aygo from our local dealer.  Sadly, that dealership has just closed. The manager explained that buying good second hand cars is now more difficult than ever…..new car delivery delays, used cars generally too old, excessive KM etc.

 

If my daughter excludes private purchase, what should a good dealer be offering in terms of guarantees etc? We’ve seen some dealers offering 1 year guarantees for around 500€. Some only have a month or so left on TÜV.  I don’t remember much about manual cars…is it the timing belt that should be replaced at a certain KM range? Isn’t it quite an expensive repair?

 

Is it best to stick to a petrol car rather than an older diesel or hybrid?

 

Any general advice would be very much appreciated.

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You can ask the dealer to get a new TÜV.  As far as I knew, the dealer must give a one year guarantee on certain parts while a private person can sell as is.  Sure you should replace the timing belt every 100k or so.  I don't know how expensive it is but I know it's expensive if it breaks.

 

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Summary of my suggestion: small-engined, common, petrol car with a new/newish MOT, making sure that it has been log-book maintained, less than 3 owners, with a green Umweltplakette, with written confirmation that it has not been in an accident. Typical vehicle could be a Polo or VW UP.

 

Detailed:

How much is she looking to spend? A first-time buyer usually doesn't have deep pockets which is likely to exclude most hybrids. Also, insurance and tax tend to make smaller-engined, petrol cars cheaper. Unless she is looking to commute hours each day on the Autobahn you can probably exclude diesels.

Assuming she wants to drive it into town at some stage, a used petrol car is more likely to come with a green Umweltplakette than a diesel. 

 

Lots of people only sell cars because there is a problem with them, or a major cost coming up which makes it preferable to change. That's why I always look for cars that have spent a few years with each owner (but excluding when a garage is listed for an owner for a couple of weeks). From my experience, a car that changes hands frequently is usually a dog.

 

Put in requirements on mobile.de and find several of the same type of car. That way she can start to get a feel for the going price (age v. KM being a classic trade-off). She should take that info with her when she views the car.

Always call the trader prior to viewing, so they know you are serious. 

Don't buy the first car or at least the car on the first viewing (if/when the tradesman tells you that another person is coming to view, just say that you'll accept the risk it could be sold).

When haggling, make an offer of a price, and then shut up. It will feel awkward for both of you, but it will get you a better price.

If you agree a price subject to work being carried out (i.e. oil change, scratch repair, winter tyres added etc) double check they have actually done it when you turn up to buy. If they haven't walk away. 

 

 

 

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Thank you for your advice. We’ve just realised another consideration….as a student receiving Bafög, my daughter can’t own a car/assets worth more than 8200€. I’ve no idea yet how this works out if she uses her savings and a parent loan for anything a bit more expensive.

 

My daughter‘s friend has offered her his BMW 118D, manual, 2012, 185000 KM with ‘M Paket’ (whatever that means?) for around 8000€. I personally think this is not a good idea though I’d appreciate an opinion on that. I’m thinking….too old, high KMs, expensive to insure, service and repair etc. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, emkay said:

Thank you for your advice. We’ve just realised another consideration….as a student receiving Bafög, my daughter can’t own a car/assets worth more than 8200€. I’ve no idea yet how this works out if she uses her savings and a parent loan for anything a bit more expensive.

 

My daughter‘s friend has offered her his BMW 118D, manual, 2012, 185000 KM with ‘M Paket’ (whatever that means?) for around 8000€. I personally think this is not a good idea though I’d appreciate an opinion on that. I’m thinking….too old, high KMs, expensive to insure, service and repair etc. 

 

 

 

I would never buy a used car from a friend - one easy way for the friendship to turn sour if the car turns out to be a lemon.

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9 minutes ago, pmd said:

 

I would never buy a used car from a friend - one easy way for the friendship to turn sour if the car turns out to be a lemon.

The circumstances are even more obscure though I’d really appreciate any advice on why that kind of car would one to avoid. She and her friend think I’m just being negative!

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10 minutes ago, emkay said:

BMW 118D, manual, 2012, 185000 KM with ‘M Paket’ (whatever that means?) for around 8000€

Well, the price could be about the right sort of ball park (depending upon condition, accidents, MOT etc), but that's not what I'd consider a first-timer car. The engine is too big (probably a 2 liter), diesel could cause some issues depending upon the area you live, or in which she wants to drive, and the M Package just means it looks like the sporty M series (the sports division of BMW), so it would have stuff like bucket seats, a small steering wheel and possibly paddle gears.  

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13 minutes ago, emkay said:

My daughter‘s friend has offered her his BMW 118D, manual, 2012, 185000 KM with ‘M Paket’ (whatever that means?) for around 8000€. I personally think this is not a good idea though I’d appreciate an opinion on that. I’m thinking….too old, high KMs, expensive to insure, service and repair etc. 

 

Yes, yes and yes to all of that.  Too many HP for a first car too plus what pmd said, buy a car from a friend and then it falls apart, you are not friends anymore.  

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22 minutes ago, murphaph said:

Leave that BMW alone and get another Toyota if cheap, reliable motoring is the goal.

Which other makes are cheap and reliable? She’d need something a bit bigger than my Aygo….ideally 3 rear seats, a bit more headroom and bigger boot space.

 

I guess that petrol is probably best rather than a 6+ year old hybrid? I recently read that older electric/hybrid cars could be the new diesel type scandal? Not to be touched with a barge pole!

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No one has made a bad car for years. All cars will break down eventually, look at where you live, what dealers there are and how easy it is to get work done if necessary. The ideal thing would be Fiesta, Corsa, Punto or rather now a 500X, Clio, Polo. They would be main ones to go for simply on running costs and insurance. You can look at Korean because of the 7 year warranties they give, you might get something that still has some manufacturers warranty left. Japanese cars have a reputation for being reliable and well screwed together but ultimately it's down to what your daughter is happy to sit in.

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My lad has just started his driving lessons so I've been looking around at used cars.
As you say, the market is poor at the moment, long lead times on new cars having driven people to buy used which has made it a seller's market.
I really don't want to get him a piece of junk which could go wrong at a dangerous time or leave him stranded somewhere.

I'm considering leasing something for him in my name, until the market settles down a bit.
Something like this is very cheap, reliable, hassle-free motoring for a couple of years:
https://www.null-leasing.com/fiat-leasing/angebote/977ee9nado~fiat-500
€3,360 total for 2 years after you claim the BAFA Förderung, with peanuts for running costs (electric).
Full guarantee as it's a new car. No service or repair costs. No TÜV needed. You probably wouldn't even need new tyres within the 2 years.
No issues with Bafäg as well, as it's a lease.

 

For an older, cheap car, I'm considering an Audi A2.
Zero issues with rust (all aluminium body), super simple and reliable mechanically and still looks relatively modern even at 20+ years old.

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Toyota yaris, has place for 3 seats in back but, 3 seats for children or small people thou

 

Toyota normal has the best reliability of all cars, but are more expensive to fix when they go wrong

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Mazda 2, Nissan note , Honda jazz. I drive Honda jazz manufactured in 2010. Bought it second hand for 6500 euros in 2015 at 50k km. No issues so far.

I will definitely stay away from that BMW, it has all the parameters properly set to loose a lot of money

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2 hours ago, murphaph said:

Toyota Corolla, for example. 

 

We had 2 (used) Corollas but thats going back a long time (at leat 15 years).

The first got written off in a crash (in a 30 kmh zone!) & the second just got very old.

 

Both wife & I drive Toyotas (Verso & Yaris), currently just over 4 years old. 

We got them both as "Tageszulassung".

 

Our daughter drives an old Nissan Micra (the older one with a decent 4-cylinder engine).

First registration November 2008, we got it second hand.  The car runs well & being small is great to find a parking slot

round the back of UKE in Hamburg.  Back seat is folded down to be able to transport horse stuff.

Car smells as if horse was transported therein.

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Can´t advise on the car, but I can seriously recommend taking out ADAC membership for her when she does get a car.

I have been with the ADAC for years and years now, but a week after taking out coverage for Shorty, guess what?! - car copped a moody, wouldn´t start for love nor money, and had to be towed to the local garage!

Also, I believe that you are in a similar position to me, Em, daughter away from home, studying, and you not always being available to help her as and when....

Have her join the ADAC and you will at least always know that somebody trustworthy will go out to her if the car breaks down on a lonely country road at night, or whatever...

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